Austin lawmaker Don Zimmerman tells a group of Latino kids to "do something useful"
An Austin, Texas, city councilman has come under fire for racially insensitive comments made toward a group of mostly Latino children during a council meeting Thursday evening.
The children accompanied their parents to the council meeting, which centered on a debate for Austin's proposed budget for next year, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The parents were looking to ask for more funding for after-school activities.
As the debate came to a conclusion, City Council Member Sheri Gallo asked the group of children to register to vote when they became 18 years of age, according to the Statesman.
But Don Zimmerman, a member of Austin's city council since 2015, took his commentary a step further.
"I'd ask for everyone here, including the children, when you grow up, I want to ask you to pledge to finish school, learn a trade, a skilled trade, get a college education, start a business, do something useful and produce something in your society so you don't have to live off others," the city councilman told the group of children, according to the Statesman.
After Zimmerman was throughly booed, Council Member Delia Garza responded to his comments.
"We do not condone what he said," Garza told those at the meeting, according to the Statesman. "We have your back, not just the ones that are brown or black on this council. There are other progressive members of this council that understand you and support you."
Zimmerman's comments also received backlash on Twitter, most notably from Gina Hinojosa, the Democratic candidate for Texas House District 49, and fellow City Council Member Gregorio Casar.
Zimmerman did not have much to say about the actual incident.
"On behalf of those nonsubsidized taxpayers being forced out of our city by legions of special interests, I apologize for the greed and selfishness of those willing to expand city government force, through the 'political process' to maintain and increase their own subsidies at the unaffordable expense of others," Zimmerman told KXAN in a statement.
The city councilman has come under fire for controversial comments once before. In June 2015, KXAN reported Zimmerman wrote disturbing comments regarding pedophilia and same-sex marriage on Facebook.